In a full-throttled defence of Prince Harry against Murdoch – whom Louise Mensch defended over the publication of the naked pictures – Nadine Dorries really opens up with both barrels into the soon to depart these shores fellow Tory MP.
Nadine tweets that she writes in sorrow, many bitterly envious Tory MPs will cheer:
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorriesMP) August 27, 2012
Will Louise bite her lip or respond in kind?
UPDATE: Louise tweets
waking up to find self on the Nadine Dorries naughty step. which is a pity as I spend my entire time worrying about what she thinks. (ahem)
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) August 27, 2012
With Labour figures nailing their colours to the mast over the Progress/GMB in-fighting, Guido is particularly amused by the decision of one of Ed’s most ambitious greasy pole climbing allies to lurch to the left. Rachel Reeves, who co-authored the “Purple Book“, quit as a Progress vice chair a few months ago. “More weathervane than foghorn” as one sighing Labour insider unkindly told Guido…
Meanwhile another prominent Labour tweeter has jumped ship the other way. GMB-sponsored Jamie Reed has slammed his union’s decision to outlaw Progress, announcing that he will be signing up to the under-fire faction in protest. There go his donations for 2015…
The fallout continues. Labour colleagues are pointing more fingers at Watson:
“It looks like Watson may have overplayed his hand here. Its difficult to see how Siôn Simon is going to come out of this well and if MPs do make it on to the ballot paper its going to look like a defeat for them. In 24 hours they’ve managed to give shadow cabinet member Liam Byrne the outsider/underdog status which can only help his campaign.
Watson tried to reinvent himself for the new politics era but he’s let the mask slip. He walks around with a halo on calling for more transparency in the media one moment and then be doing secret back room deals half an hour later. He’s the fixers fixer, in many ways he’s like Kevin Rudd in Australia. He complains about “invisible voices” and “faceless men”, but they are him. He called James Murdoch a mafia boss, but it takes one to know one, he’s Labour’s mafia boss”
Labour sources point to the fact normally “the General Secretary would have stepped in by now to sort out this mess,” but Iain McNicol is “an ineffective lightweight with no authority”.
Tempers are flaring…
UPDATE: A former Labour SpAd twists the knife:
“This is now going to turn into a ‘stop Sion’ campaign. Watson, what a genius. Doing for Sion what he did for Gordon…”
Patrick Wintour’s article in the Guardian this morning has gone down very badly in Labour circles. The notion that Labour MPs could be banned from triggering by-elections in order stand as Mayors or Police Commissioners due to dire finances has been met with outrage throughout the party. Though Labour are indeed broke, insiders see this for what it is – a direct attack on Liam Byrne and his bid to run for Mayor of Birmingham. Central command and control is back.
One former SpAd said: “Such a naked stitch-up. It would be simpler if Tom Watson just said that no-one whose name wasn’t Siôn Simon was allowed to run. Mind you, Siôn would still find a way to cock it up.”
Another senior party staffer points out: “why is the by-election thing only a problem when it’s Liam? They were happy to do it when it suited them, ie to get Lucy Powell in. Precedent was set by Sir Peter Soulsby in Leicester South, Watson was desperate to get his best mate Jonathan Ashworth in. It’s only when they lose control of the fixing they want to change the rules. Harriet biggest hypocrite of all. She used by-elections to get her cronies in – Ashworth was her former political secretary. And Seema Malhotra in Feltham and Heston was her former adviser.””
The article has fingerprints all over it, especially as it names Harman as the driving force behind the idea. Her husband Jack Dromey is likely to chair Siôn Simon’s Birmingham campaign. Guido understands that a deal was struck when Dromey replaced Simon in the All Female Selection for Birmingham Erdington in 2010. One source called this an “old school Labour/union stitch up of the worst kind.”
Paul Richards is clearly not happy about Guido’s run of scoops about the Labour Party’s internal problems.
“It’s a great shame that someone thinks passing regular updates to Guido Fawkes is the best way of settling disputes. I’m a bit exasperated and I expect many Labour Party members will be too. It’s pretty despicable really.”
This zinger just in from a senior Labour source
“Its a bit f*****g rich of Paul Richards telling people to stop doing hostile briefings, it is a bit like desperate Dan telling everyone to go vegan.”
Our source reminds us that when he was Hazel Blears’ SpAd Paul Richards constantly briefed against John Prescott to try and further Hazel Blears’ position. The poisonous “YouTube if you want to” uncoded attack on Gordon Brown was drafted by him and he encouraged Hazel Blears to wear a “rock the boat” broach on the day of the European and local elections after she resigned.
“He was one of the most poisonous f*****g briefers working for anyone in the cabinet…”
… screams our exasperated Labour stalwart…
Talking to Labour insiders, ambitious young PAds, think-tankers and old hands alike, the candid admission is that they are stuck with Ed Miliband because as with Gordon Brown, there is no-one else. Ed gets a regular mauling at PMQs despite a terrible economy, still looks and sounds like the kid who does the photocopying, has failed to impress the British public and is unable at this stage of the electoral cycle to push further ahead in the polls. His shadow chancellor can never win the argument, because the argument he makes is that the British public is wrong and because it is Ed Balls who is making the argument. Dislodging Ed Balls would risk fraticidal conflict and not getting him off the television screens will guarantee Labour won’t be given a hearing on the economy.
The Labour Party’s centrists and the realist operators who just want power have written off the 2015 electoral prospects of the Labour party under the two Eds. So it is against this backdrop that we should look at two new publications that have just come out. Labour’s Business written by Luke Bozier and Alex Smith argues that the party should be pro-business, it even has one brilliantly simple business-friendly idea that the government should steal immediately – small businesses should have one person as their point of contact at the HMRC. One person who is responsible for dealing with issues arising from the complexity of the myriad of taxes – VAT, NI, capital gains, corporation taxes and the like – burdening small businesses.
“In the Black Labour: Why fiscal conservatism and social justice go hand-in-hand” is a new Policy Network discussion paper in which the authors; Graeme Cooke, Adam Lent, Anthony Painter and Hopi Sen, call for Labour to embrace fiscal conservatism. Policy Network is backed by Peter Mandelson, so is not exactly a fringe ginger group. The paper can be seen as a direct rebuttal of the kamikaze economics of Ed Balls endorsed by Ed Miliband, which poll after poll shows is not seen as credible by the public. Despite the state the economy is in George Osborne is believed and supported by the British public.
The policy details in the two papers won’t worry their Coalition opponents, they will however be seen as part of a slow move back towards the electorally potent reality-based politics of New Labour, rather than the one-more-heave-to-the-left politics of Ed Miliband. Ed Miliband and those around him believe the electorate is moving towards the positions of the Occupy and UK Uncut activist groups, a strategic error that will guarantee them electoral defeat in 2015. If Labour’s reality-based wonks want to be in government before they are old men, they have got to either get rid of the Eds or convince them to tack to the centre. These are the opening salvos…